Here, water reigns supreme... Bocage Champenois is typical of the Champagne humid region
with its generous natural surroundings that stretch all around Lac du Der-Chantecoq.

The timber-frame churches' architectural wealh, the forest, the huge lake... Everything works to make this journey a rewarding and challenging adventure!

The Timber-frame Church Trail in Champagne

Timber-frame churches are very rare. The only collection in France, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, can be found in Le Der. The decision to build churches out of wood was influenced by the time and money constraints of the period. The churches were constructed with the same techniques employed for barns and covered markets, mostly using oak (der in Celtic). The fragile materials meant that the buildings had to be restored and today the churches serve as fine examples of renovation.

Champagne’s great lakes region is the home of a unique group of religious buildings in France: 10 churches and a chapel made completely from timber erected between the late 15th century and the 18th century.
Taking the country paths past ponds and lakes, forests and meadows, this route will lead you to the villages where these architectural gems have been proudly restored to their former glory.

The Champagne Trail: the hills of Vitry

Through the hills in and around Vitry, this route is a great new way for visitors to discover the vineyards in the region of Vitry and the Lake Der. Zigzagging along small roads amidst hills, mountains and fields, the circuit is around 37 miles long and runs through 15 villages typical of the region's hedged farmland.

The largest artificial lake in Europe, Lake Der is the ideal spot for those who want to take part in sports and enjoy the great outdoors in a breath-taking environment.

All year round, plenty of leisure activities from water sports to hiking are available and each autumn the arrival of some 70,000 cranes makes for an unforgettable sight.

Close by, Vitry-le-François, the capital of Le Perthois, where rivers, railways and roads converge, is worth an detour. Or why not visit the Trois-Fontaines Abbey and its magnificent grounds, or Le Fion Valley where visitors can admire the traditional timber-frame homes.


The grey ladies' delight...

Throughout the year, the Lake Der welcomes some 270 bird
species evolving in their natural habitat. Among them are
the cranes, which secure the most attention from avid observers.

From october to march, nearly 70,000 "grey ladies" make a
stop on the lake. Fleeing from the northern cold, they
will end their race in Tunisia or Spain, in the
Gallocanta Lake, which means... Chantecoq!

They give us a spectacular show when they leave
their roost while yelping!


For more information

Lake Der Tourist Office - 51290 Giffaumont Champaubert
03 26 72 62 80 - -

Vitry-le-François Tourist Office - 51300 Vitry-le-François
03 26 74 45 30 -